So much has kept me busy these past few weeks. My eldest son turned 18 (still can’t believe it) and I also celebrated my birthday month. Our birthdays are a week apart. After almost 7 months of our country being on lockdown, we went down to Level one which meant we could move around freely. We took advantage of this and went away for the weekend to relax and rejuvenate. We are currently in our exam period. My eldest son started his final Cambridge AS level exams which he is currently still writing.
He has written Maths paper 1, Business Studies Paper 1 and 2, Physics Practical as well as Physics structured questions exam. The exams are spread out over 6 weeks but some days he has two exam papers on one day. On those days he stays at the school’s exam centre and will have a monitored lunch break between the two papers. Each exam is from one hour forty-five minutes up to two and a half hours. His exam preparation involves doing a lot of past exam papers. The site we use to download these past papers is Papa Cambridge. He also uses his march and August exam papers to prepare. His application to university is still on track we have applied to University of Cape Town and Wits and have received provisional acceptance based on his IGCSE exam results. I also had to fill out a form to state his predicted results as this is a new requirement. He will complete his exams on the 18th November, the exams are then posted to the UK for marking. We will use his student number to access his results in January 2021.
My younger two kids also write exams soon. We will begin in November and end around the same date as my older son. Their exam papers are ready for downloading from the 1st November and they will write at home under my supervision. I sign a parental declaration to say I will not assist them. I also do not have the answer papers for their exams. The exams are then posted to T.C.E for marking.
This last term I’ve tried harder to incorporate fun activities into our learning experience. With my youngest daughter we’ve learnt Astronomy. We created our own Solar system using clay and acrylic paints. My younger son joins in with the activity as well. Even if it doesn’t come out as a perfect work of art, she has a lot of fun learning and painting.
We also learnt about the phases of the moon this week and I used Oreos to teach her this concept. To my delight she said oh now I understand how the moon changes now! And was then eager to eat the Oreos… Even though my younger son has already done this activity he joined in again and had such joy in eating them afterwards.
Our social time has also increased lately as our home-school playgroups have resumed. We’ve been going on nature walks more often. We’ve had a boardgames morning as well, where all the kids bring their boardgames and teach the others how to play them. We recently went to a local Marine world where the kids learnt so much about the Ocean. We did a fish dissection and learnt about pollution in our oceans. We belong to a home-school Eco club where the kids are taught Biodiversity and had to prepare a diorama about a Dessert and a rain forest. All these activities tie up with what they learnt at different times of the year.
We are coming to the end of our year and have two weeks left for exams. My kids always get excited to see the last few pages of their books and to know that next year holds a new grade!
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.